Does adding conjoint therapy to individually focused alcoholism treatment lead to better family functioning?

James R. McKay, Richard Longabaugh, Martha C. Beattie, Stephen A Maisto, Nora E. Noel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


This report examines functioning in the families of alcoholics undergoing outpatient treatment. Alcoholic patients were randomly assigned to two social-learning-based alcoholism treatments, one of which contained a conjoint therapy component. Patients (Pts) and significant others (SOs) provided ratings of family functioning before treatment and at a 6-month follow-up. According to the perceptions of both Pts and SOs, there were significant improvements in family functioning in a number of areas at posttreatment. Contrary to what was expected, however, the improvements were not greater in the conjoint condition. The usefulness of alcoholics' level of autonomy as a matching variable also was explored. According to the perceptions of both Pts and SOs, posttreatment family functioning was better when low-autonomy alcoholics were treated without other family members. There also was evidence that conjoint treatment was more effective with high-autonomy alcoholics and their families, although it was less convincing and limited to the SOs' perceptions. Implications for alcoholism treatment and the limitations of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-59
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this